I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but it is an issue mostly on forums and other online places. What are some good arguments to use proper English? Some people just don't seem to accept that one shouldn't rite liek this cuz its cool. Of course, you can just warn and ban people as a mod/admin, but I would like to try to explain why one should take care writing.

EDIT: Just to clarify, this is about getting people not to use txtspeak without forceful measures, as we are a very small group.

  • 4
    MadTux, this question has spawned a meta post. The general response is that this type of question is on topic but that this specific question has a few minor issues. Can you take a few moments to read the answers on Meta and edit this question to be more on topic?
    – Andy
    Commented Sep 26, 2014 at 23:50
  • Is the edited question on-topic? It is not what this meta post suggested: meta.moderators.stackexchange.com/a/168
    – MadTux
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 6:06
  • 1
    To be honest: I don't see any major difference. It would be better if you write the question like "I've a small community… How can I encourage the users not to use txtspeek". To answer this question, you should also provide some details about your community
    – jwacalex
    Commented Sep 27, 2014 at 20:27

3 Answers 3


One argument which may or not work depending on the venue is that colloquial, abbreviated, misspelled or grammatically incorrect English is hard to understand for non-native English speakers.

Bad grammar makes it hard to parse sentences. Where's the subject, where's the verb? What word is this word a complement of? A native speaker can often understand non-standard constructions intuitively, but a non-native speaker will often need to consciously analyze the sentence.

English spelling is only loosely tied to its pronunciation. Non-native speakers are often more familiar with written English. Natives often use phonetic spelling, but a non-native might not even realize that their and there are pronounced identically: they're just vaguely-similar words.

Misspellings make it impossible to look up a word in a dictionary.

For native readers, the damage isn't as bad. But even for them, if one person writes in txtspik, l33t or whatever, every reader has to do the effort of deciphering. That's one person's wannabe-coolness or ignorance to weigh against the work performed by the many readers. Making others do more work gratuitously is selfish.


A way I used to enforce this was by suggesting a guideline for both formatting and language. That guideline included items such as not posting in all colors that goes against the color scheme of the template, not posting IN ALL CAPS and the attempt to use proper grammar in your chosen language.

I think the key to any guideline or rule is to define it first and enforce it second. If it's not defined, then it's hard to police because users don't know they can't talk like 12 year olds who never attended school a day in their life. You have to be upfront and clear about the proper guidelines to posting in a community.

Once that's done, then you can start enforcing it as well accepting feedback from your users on guidelines like proper grammar.


I would communicate to the user: iff you writ3 li3k zis nobody can understand you in a proper way – so why do you waste time with posting here?

My assumption is, that in this case, a list of reasons will just bore the user and moves you into the unpleasant position that you arguing about their way of writing instead about their content. (Compare to Herrmann's Law in the Usenet culture)

If you have a rule about grammar and spelling you could apply it and warn the users about their grammatical rampage. If not and there complaints from the community this could also servers as reason for a warning.

Otherwise, just ignore it: If their posts getting skiped by the majority of the other users in the community, they'll learn why they should write in a readable way.

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